MEDIA RELEASE: #BCBudget Offers Opportunity To Make New Investments In Seniors Care Across BC
“New health funding should be prioritized to support our most vulnerable,” says BCCPA CEO
Burnaby, BC [February 21, 2017] – BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) says today’s provincial budget contains an increase of $4.2 billion in health care funding over the next 3 years – which in part should be used to address the critical needs of our rapidly ageing population.
Due to the timing of last week’s announcement of a new federal-provincial health accord – Budget 2017 was unable to reflect a further $786 million which will be invested in home and residential care over the next 10 years.
“This is significant new funding which provides the kind of flexibility needed by the Ministry of Health to make new and targeted investments in home and residential care across BC,” says Daniel Fontaine, CEO for the BCCPA. “We look forward to meeting with Ministry officials over the coming days to continue a dialogue regarding how best to prioritize the needs of our seniors.”
Following over six months of public and sector consultations, last month the BCCPA released its 4-pillar plan – a “Made-in-BC Roadmap” to strengthen seniors care – featuring 30 top line recommendations for new investments and innovations. The recommendations were widely supported by a range of groups including private care providers, health care associations, labour unions, and the Office of the Seniors Advocate.
In 2016 Health Minister Terry Lake announced Dr. Darryl Plecas, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors, would conduct a review of the continuing care sector. It is anticipated this review will include recommendations regarding the critical issue of funded direct care hours for contracted care homes across BC.
“We look forward to the release of the Plecas report which we anticipate will provide more clarity regarding the type of new investments needed in the continuing care sector,” says Fontaine. “Today’s budget increase provides some certainty that the funding will be there to increase seniors’ care over the coming years.”
As part of the 2017 Budget, the updated Ministry of Health Service Plan states it wants to “…improve access to home and community care and focus on increased levels of service to better address the needs of B.C.’s seniors.” In addition, the Ministry wants to “continue to advance models and quality standards in residential care for those with complex care needs and/or dementia and their families.”
“We’re encouraged that increased funding from both the provincial and federal governments offer the opportunity to strengthen seniors care in B.C.” says Fontaine. “We owe it to the people who built our economy and the families that support them to ensure that the care will be there when they need it.”
On Thursday, February 23rd the BCCPA will be hosting a special all-candidates debate focusing on seniors care at the Terminal City Club in Vancouver. Representatives from all three major political parties including the BC Liberals, BC NDP and BC Green. The event is open to the media.
Mike Klassen, VP Communications and Stakeholder Relations